AV Hope on the Go is a mobile ministry of listening, compassion and hope which Seth and Sandy Weinberg began in January, 2011. The vision God gave them was clear and simple: Go throughout the Antelope Valley and intentionally seek out people who have a longing to be heard - and listen to them. So often, people feel abandoned and invisible. God desires for His children to know that neither is true. He is with us - and He sees us.
Four days a week, Seth and Sandy, along with amazing volunteers lovingly called, Disciples of Hope, travel to bus stops, train stations, parks and wherever God leads here in the AV, keenly aware that any meeting with someone is never random or by coincidence. It's awesome to see how God actually orchestrates a meeting with someone, establishes the dialogue, prepares hearts for words of hope in Jesus to be shared and received freely - and brings revelation of God. And all the while, new friendships are birthed along the route. It's a beautiful thing.
The goal or focus is never to "convert" anyone. (Only God does that.) We do not "preach" to people. The mission is to extend a hand of fellowship to the people God leads us to or brings to us. "A bottle of water is a great evangelism tool," explains Seth. "Hand someone a free bottle of water out here in the desert and you've got a friend," he says smiling. "We earn their trust and in God's time, earn the right to speak biblical principles into their lives that apply to their situations," he adds.
And speaking comes only after listening. Disciples of Hope are trained to stay alert to the voice of the Holy Spirit while they listen to someone share from their heart. The Spirit of Truth provides discernment, wisdom, compassion ... and the words of hope that need to be spoken. "The Spirit tells us when to and when not to speak, says Sandy, an ordained minister. "He always starts by reminding us, "Listen. They're hurting. They have much to share. Listen like Jesus listens."
Picnics in the parks, free bottles of water given at train stations in Lancaster and Palmdale, hot cups of Cup 'O Noodles passed out to the homeless and high school students - These are some of the practical ways AV Hope on the Go goes around sharing and experiencing hope, looking for opportunities to strike up a friendly conversation. A 20 year old Disciple of Hope recently shared, "I used to think I was one of the "less fortunate" that people talked about because I used to live in a shelter with my mama. But God showed me that we have abundance even if we don't have alot of money .... I love helping other people so they can see that too!"
Week after week Disciples of Hope marvel at what God does through their simple acts of obedience. To watch how an encounter with Jesus can transform a person who was isolated, depressed, hopeless and often suicidal ... into a person filled with gratitude, joy and hope ... is a beautiful thing. It serves as a reminder that this is what God desires for all of His children.
Most of the Disciples of Hope are people Seth and Sandy have met along the way this year as their journey into full time ministry began. And the relationships keep growing and growing!
"Relational evangelism requires an investment in relationships," explains Sandy. "And no matter how many sermons I preach in my lifetime, nothing will ever replace the need to get in the trenches with people," she adds. "So if they're out in 110 degree heat waiting for a bus, then guess where God is going to send us? If they're homeless, sleeping in a field a mile in, in 40 degrees, guess where God is going to send us? If they're in the local jail or hospital ... just guess. "
God goes to great lengths to show His children His love. If we're going to participate in showing that love, then we're going to go where He goes.